Flash in the Pan

A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights

A Brief History Of My Latest Cell

by Gregory Gerard

My new cell phone is just like any other toy in our American Dream economy. The shiny ad delivers a shiny product to make life shine.

Trouble is, after the shine dims and the keyboard is a little loose, you kick yourself for not getting the "optional insurance" and you still have a twenty-three-month commitment left—especially painful now that there's a ding on one corner of the cell where you dropped it the night you were drinking tequila in New Orleans and laughing so hard that it just slipped out of your hand and hit the sidewalk and you felt like crying (or maybe just throwing books and furniture around like Timothy Hutton in Ordinary People when he finally lets loose in the counselor's office) and then, as you pick up the now-dented phone, you think that maybe you drink too much and that nothing ever really turns out as planned and, like the cell phone, life in your forties is a little dented and loose, that life in your forties is a kind of cell-—the latest in series of self-made prisons-—you think of the Celexa in the medicine cabinet at home flirting with you, take me and you'll feel better, the little bottle promises, I'll carry you away from all that troubles you, it whispers—-but your counselor convinced you not to take it; your counselor who said why go around a little high all the time? It's better to work through your problems-—but that's easy for him to say, he charges $100 an hour and I'm guessing his house is paid for and he already told me that he loves what he does; he loves the freedom, freedom, freedom to set his own schedule and help people and all that happy horseshit that seems so far away from my have-to life, farther still from those great plans I had as a kid, squirreled away in my blanket fort, reading The Clue in the Crumbling Wall and knowing that my life would someday be just as exciting as Nancy Drew, and that when I grew up, when I was a famous detective or writer and could finally get what I wanted, even if it cost a lot of money, I'd have a real, honest-to-goodness secret passageway in my house because that's the kind of person I knew I'd be.

Having survived the extended winter and polar vorticies, Gregory Gerard is reveling in the summer's heat and humidity in Rochester NY. His less-frozen attempts at authorship have been recognized by Geva Theater, The Stone Table Review, Writers & Books, and more. His memoir, IN JUPITER'S SHADOW (Infinity Publishing, 2009) chronicles a religious teen's hot-and-cold struggle with forbidden attraction. For the hottest news, visit

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